Author Topic: New to me - 25-20WCF  (Read 643 times)

StevenJ

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New to me - 25-20WCF
« on: May 06, 2024, 05:22:44 AM »
Hi all,

I have posted on the introduction page to say g'day but I am going to post here about my new purchase.

I managed to pick up a 219 chambered for 25-20. It is a rough unit and not a collectors gun but I would be interested to know about its origin and what others may think about the idea I have to 'restore' or tidy up this gun.

I'll post the details in several posts to make it easier, but here is an overall image of the poor gun. I don't feel hard done by. I paid AUD $195 for it so it was not an expensive purchase. I bought it unseen, which is always a risk.

The positive features are that the metal locks up really tight. No movement what-so-ever. The rest I can work on over time.  Steve, Looking at the overall picture, the curved steel trigger guard along with the Utica name on the barrel, identifies your rifle as what I call a "First Model Utica".  It most likely was made before WWII. 


« Last Edit: May 17, 2024, 01:46:56 PM by Garnett »

StevenJ

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Re: New to me - 25-20WCF
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2024, 05:26:46 AM »
Where to start....hmmm...?

Maybe with the stuff that interests Garnett....

All of the components are marked 208. I am not sure if this is a true serial number or if it is an assembly marking.
The stock is marked 208 O
The action is marked 208 O with a Z towards the hinge.
The barrel is marked 208 O with a J.  The number 208 is part of the assembly number.  Very few rifles, and even fewer shotguns, had traditional serial numbers , The serial numbers found so far, have been on the bottom left rear of the frames.  Normally the assembly numbers are a random mixture of letters and numbers.  Not even exactly the same on the 3 locations, barrel, inside frame, and stamped into the stock under the butt plate.  Now, what I am about to say is purely my opinion after several years of research.  I believe it is very likely that your rifle was originally a "Utility" gun with a matching shotgun barrel and separate forearm for the shot barrel.  My reason for thinking this is you have a 3 digit number, 208.  I have had 3 of the "Utility"sets.  One of them had the random letter/number combination, but the other two, were "52" and "333".  These numbers as with your rifle, were stamped on all 3 places.  The "Utility" sets are very rare.  The very few others I have seen for sale also have a 3 digit number on all 3 locations.






« Last Edit: May 17, 2024, 01:58:06 PM by Garnett »

StevenJ

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Re: New to me - 25-20WCF
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2024, 05:33:25 AM »
There are some holes that have been drilled for a side scope mount. I wish they were not there, but someone had a plan and this seemed to be part of the solution. I checked the thread size to be 3/32 - 32tpi, and my plan is to fill these holes and carefully take them down level.  When I first saw the picture with the holes for a side mount, I was excited, as a very rare factory option was to drill and tap the left side of the barrel for a scope base.  When this was done, the barrel writing was moved to the top of the barrel.  It is a shame someone drilled through the writing when a top mounted scope base(s) could have been installed.   I agree with your statement below, I would leave it as is and install two flat plug screws.  Or, you maybe could find an old Weaver side mount base, number "2    48402" made for this rifle.  So far in my research, I have not found which Weaver rings to with this base.

It is a shame that the stamp has been drilled through. I know that UTICA means something to the collectors here. I could restore the text carefully, but I think I will just leave the text missing. There is enough present to know what it should have said.

My plan is to reblue the metal work. I have experimented with rust bluing on other guns and found this to be a fairly straight forward procedure that looks great. It would also give me the chance to reduce the impact of the vice jaw marks.  I completely agree with your plan to "Rust" blue the gun.  The early models, until the move to Chicopee Falls, were done that way.  When these older models are "Hot"  reblued, the frames turn red or purple.



The left side of the action lets us know that it is in fact a 25-20 caliber. I think this means a whole lot more to some of those collectors. If you were close by, I'd let you have it for your collection, even if it is a 'well used' example.  I appreciate your thought, but thankfully, I have an almost new .25-20 that I purchased early in my research for my Savage book.


« Last Edit: May 17, 2024, 02:23:01 PM by Garnett »

StevenJ

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Re: New to me - 25-20WCF
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2024, 05:39:25 AM »
I think I will need to re crown, or at least give a good clean to the muzzle if I am to try and determine a good load for this gun. The rifling is present but has seen better days too. Sometimes this matters, but I have also found that guns can still shoot well enough despite the wear they have.  I am not a machinist, but have two friends who are, and have read articles over the years, that the crown can affect accuracy.  But, again, I agree with you as I have some 1911 Colts with various condition original barrels, that still shoot better than I can hold them.



I wonder about the front sight. It seems to be missing a bead although maybe it never had one. The sight is not easy to see so testing will be a challenge. The rear sight is probably one of the tidiest features of this gun. It is so much better than the remainder that I wonder if it is original. Maybe it was removed when the scope was installed, and the owner was careful enough to store it and replace it when it was handed to the local gun shop. Everything about this rear sight is crisp, although it is just a little dirty.  I cannot tell from the picture of your front sight, whether or not it is correct.  The early front sights had a blade with a Gold bead and was secured with two screws.  That is the correct one for very early guns.  At some point in time Savage changed to just a plain blade with no gold bead.  I have found these intermittently during early production.  As to your rear sight, it is correct, an all milled heavy sight.  Later Savage changed to a cheap stamped sight for the balance of production.




« Last Edit: May 17, 2024, 02:31:42 PM by Garnett »

StevenJ

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Re: New to me - 25-20WCF
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2024, 05:43:16 AM »
Here is a shot of the action and trigger mechanism. It seems from what I have learnt here is that it is one of the earlier guns.  Yes, your action is a very early one.  Over the years, there were 6 internal action designs.  The action remained the same externally.  They are: First Model Utica, Second  Model Utica, then after the moves to Chicopee Falls and West Field, the rifle model changed to 219B and 219C, with shotguns being designated as 220A, 220B, 220C and 220D.



There is a small number 21 in a circle on the right side of the action. What does this mean?This is an inspector number.  So far I have not found any way to identify inspector marks or the various other symbols found on these guns.


« Last Edit: May 17, 2024, 02:40:23 PM by Garnett »

StevenJ

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Re: New to me - 25-20WCF
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2024, 05:49:39 AM »
You can see in the previous image that the stock is cracked in two places. The same cracks are present on the other side of the stock also.  This is a common problem/factory defect on all models of this gun.  The wood is just too thin where it meets the metal.  I have even seen cracked stocks on the .22 Hornet calibers.  I strongly recommend to anyone who has one of these Savages, to repair the cracks and glass bed the inside of the wood and to be sure the stock bolt is securely tightened.  Most after market semi-inletted stocks are left with thicker wood at this point of wood metal contact.

The stock appears to be refinished at some point as there are some rounded corners where it meets the steel work and the plastic buttstock was removed when it was sanded as it now no longer meets flush.

The worst aspect of this timber is that a tang site was installed at some stage and some wood was sacrificed to do so. I wonder which came first, the tang sight or the scope?

There is also a little chip on the bottom of the grip. This would be an easy fix, but the other aspects make me think that I will just make another stock for it.

The trigger guard can also be seen here. It is pressed metal and requires the elusive 'shaftless' screw driver to remove for refinishing.  There are lots of original stocks for sale on Ebay and new semi-inletted stocks on the internet.  At some point in time Savage changed the outside dimensions to stocks, and while all will fit, the late stocks don't fit as well on guns like yours.  The early stocks have the very sharp, grooved comb, and the butt plates had flat head screws.  since your stock has been highly modified, you can't really see what the comb should be like.








« Last Edit: May 17, 2024, 02:54:34 PM by Garnett »

StevenJ

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Re: New to me - 25-20WCF
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2024, 05:54:05 AM »
Here are the last images that others may find useful. The front stock fastening mechanism (I am sure it has a correct term) was a tad lose when I picked the gun up, but a couple of very gentle taps to slightly close the matching hook on the barrel has now made it snap shut nice and firm. The timber on this front stock has worn over the years and again I will likely make a full replacement. This is the correct metal for your early gun.  If you get a used forearm, again, it would ideally need to be an early one, but possibly, your original metal could be fitted to any newer forearm.



Here is the ejector.  The "ejector trip" can easily be removed to have case extraction only. 



I hope these have been useful images to collectors and enthusiasts. I am sure that I have missed things that are considered important. If anyone would like any more photos I am happy to help.  If you have time, please send a side and top view photo of the front sight.

Steve
« Last Edit: May 17, 2024, 02:59:20 PM by Garnett »

StevenJ

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Re: New to me - 25-20WCF
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2024, 06:00:10 AM »
QUESTIONS

1) Can I remove the ejector trigger hook and turn this gun into an extractor. The 25-20 cases are so hard to come by that I don't want them shooting over my shoulder to be lost in the grass.  Yes, see above comment.

2) Does anyone still make stocks for these guns?  Yes, but again search the internet,  Boyd's makes a stock, but I have found it to be a little small over all.  Others are available on the internet.

3) Would it be a crime to refinish the metal work with a rust blue?  No, due to the poor condition of the metal now.

4) If I wanted to install a peep sight on the top of the barrel, what have others found worked?  Am I correct in assuming you mean a peep on the rear standard sight?  I have seem them on lots of rifles, but have no personal experience.  Or do you mean something like a Lyman or William frame mounted peep sight?  Both companies make one or more for this 219 Savage.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2024, 03:11:21 PM by Garnett »

StevenJ

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Re: New to me - 25-20WCF
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2024, 07:17:03 AM »
Garnett,

As requested, here are a couple of shots of the front sight. I also included a better picture of the rear sight.

I am really not fond of this buckhorn sight. It covers so much of the target and I find it hard to get the front sight to the correct height. It maybe that the front sight has had the bead filed away. Or... maybe not.

I will look out for a weaver side mount, but I also wonder what model of top rail may fit this gun. I don't really want to start drilling it, but at the same time, as we have previously discussed, it is pretty worn out. If I could find a nice older model scope, that would be fine by me. My eyes are not what they used to be.

Steve






Garnett

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Re: New to me - 25-20WCF
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2024, 02:54:33 PM »
Steve, Your front sight has been altered.  Attached are pictures of the correct front sight for your rifle.  Your rifle most likely had the top sight and the bottom sight was used on later models, but I have not been able to determine exactly when their use began.  It could be that the gold bead sight was discontinued due to costs.  Click on picture to enlarge.

« Last Edit: June 02, 2024, 04:31:58 PM by Garnett »

StevenJ

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Re: New to me - 25-20WCF
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2024, 12:55:07 AM »
Thanks Garnett. I did think that is seemed to have been tinkered with along the way. Who knows the reason. The previous owner probably had the best intentions and probably made the rifle better for their own purposes in the day. Our role is not to judge ;)

I managed to shoot some nice groups with it.

I tried my black powder loads and got no where. The 85grain bullet showed evidence of yawing through the target. It was achieving 1350fps through the chronograph, but it did not appear to be stable. I really could not hit the side of the barn from the inside!

A 9.0 and 9.5 grain smokeless load of AR2207 under the same bullet saw some 1" groups at 25m. No exactly bench rest shooting, but given that I only loaded 5 rounds of each for testing, and that I was in a hurry to do other things, I was pleased with the result.

Steve

Garnett

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Re: New to me - 25-20WCF
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2024, 06:56:17 PM »
Thanks for the update.  Please keep us informed.